All week

Winter Choirs pop up at Southbank Centre

LONDON LIFE: The streets of London are portrayed in this exhibition of oil and watercolour paintings, and drawings. See something you like? They’re all for sale, starting at £50.  Barbican Foyer, free, just turn up, until 22 December

BUDGY SMUGGLER: Stuck for a stocking filler for that special someone? Might we suggest Budgy Smuggler? The Australian swimwear brand opens a pop-up shop for one week only selling men’s and women’s swimwear. underwear and socks… including good old-fashioned budgy smugglers. Old Street Roundabout, free entry, just turn up, 10-16 December

WINTER CHOIRS: If you find yourself at Southbank Centre, look out for the Winter Choirs, popping up randomly to serenade visitors with well-known songs — and a few singalongs too. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 11-23 December

ADVENT WINDOWS: We’re halfway through this year’s live advent calendar in Greenwich town centre. Every day until 24 December, a new displays pop ups in the windows of shops, houses, schools and pubs in the area. Greenwich, free, just turn up, 1-24 December (and then on display until 1 January)

CHRISTMAS FESTIVALS: Winter festivals are popping up all over London and many of them are free entry (although you may have to part with a pretty penny if you wish to do any of the activities once you’re inside). Check before you go if you’re trying to keep it on the cheap, as sometimes the admission fee varies on peak/off-peak hours.

FREE CHRISTMAS: Take a look at our guide to free things to do in London at Christmas for festive ways to pass the time without parting with a penny.

Monday 10 December

Barbara Brownskirt at Polari

PROTEST ART: What is protest art? What are its limits and possibilities? That’s the topic of tonight’s Forum For Philosophy debate, which also ponders whether something can still be considered as protest art once it has become popular. LSE Old Theatre (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

POLARI CHRISTMAS: LGBT literary salon Polari celebrates Christmas with an evening hosted by Barbara Brownskirt, a creation of author Karen McLeod, and guests including Jane Traies, Darragh Martin, John R Gordon and Susie Boyt. Southbank Centre, £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

COMEDY: Get a preview of upcoming shows by comedians Brett Goldstein and Lou Sanders — they’re both trying out new material at this work-in-progress show. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £5, book ahead, 8pm

Tuesday 11 December

A Gresham College lecture about The Lake District

CAROLS & CANDLES: This carol service for people living and working around Canary Wharf and their families raises money for two charities. See choirs made up of employees from Canary Wharf-based businesses perform among Christmas lights and handheld candles. East Wintergarden (Canary Wharf), £2.25, book ahead, 6pm

ROMANTIC LAKES: From “barren and frightful” to a picturesque idyll, perceptions of the Lake District changed drastically in the 18th century. This lecture explores how the likes of Wordsworth popularised the area, leading to the founding of the National Trust, and the idea of National Parks. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm

JOURNEY FROM HOME: Hear little-known stories of South Asian soldiers who fought in the first world war, covering their thoughts and experiences of the war. Speakers include Amandeep Madra OBE of the United Kingdom Punjabi Heritage Association, and historian and author, Paula Kitching. National Archives (Kew), free, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm

COMEDY GROTTO: Sean McLoughlin, Harriet Kemsley, Christopher Bliss and Steve Martin are among the comedians doing their thing at this comedy night, raising money for UNHCR’s Syria appeal. The Star of Kings (King’s Cross) £5, book ahead, 8pm-10.15pm

Wednesday 12 December

BOROUGH MARKET: Three words; evening of cheese. Interested? Head to Borough Market where experts from cheese stalls offer their fromage-based tips and tricks, and chef Paula McIntyre demos some cheesy recipes. Borough Market, free, just turn up, 6.30pm

A BREATH OF WATER: L’ora d’acqua (A Breath Of Water) is a feature length film about a professional diver working on oil platforms, against a backdrop of the sinking of the Costa Concordia. This screening is in Italian with English subtitles, and is followed by a Q&A with director Claudia Cipriani. Bloomsbury Theatre & Studio, free, book ahead, 7pm-10pm

WOMEN, POWER AND PARLIAMENT: Mark 100 years since the nomination of the first female MP with an evening of poetry, music and talks celebrating black female politicians and activists who have fought for equality. Braithwaite Halls (Croydon), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

WACKY RACISTS: This bigotry-smashing comedy cabaret night brings several comedy acts to the stage for festive laughs, games and carols presented by Sophie Duker. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £5, book ahead, 8pm

Thursday 13 December

Hear from the curator at the Jewish Museum

KINDERTRANSPORT: Hear from Dr Kathrin Pieren, curator of Jewish Museum’s Kindertransport exhibition, about some of the stories behind the objects on displays. The Kindertransport brought Jewish children to England from mainland Europe, helping them escape Nazi persecution. Jewish Museum (Camden), free, book ahead, 3pm

DOCTOR DEE: Learn all about polymath, alchemist, bibliophile and genius Doctor Dee and his precious book, with South East London Folkore Society. No idea what we’re on about? Find out more here. The Old King’s Head (Borough Market), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

Friday 14 December

Enjoy a concert at The Musical Museum

STAND UP FOR SUFFRAGE: Marking 100 years to the day since some women were able to vote for the first time, this evening — organised by LSE — commemorates suffrage with talks, games and suffrage bingo, all overlooked by a suffrage-themed Christmas tree. George IV pub (Holborn), £4, book ahead, 6.30pm-9pm

STRING QUARTET: London’s Musical Museum hosts a string quartet concert, featuring work by Haydn, Shostakovich & Dvořák. Musical Museum (Brentford), free (donations welcome), just turn up, 7.30pm

Saturday 15 December

Probably best to dress for worse weather than this

WATERLOO CLASSICS: A fleet of classic cars, vans and other vehicles parks up among the market stalls in Waterloo for the monthly meet-up of vintage vehicles. If you want to exhibit your vehicle, you have to register, otherwise, just turn up, wander among the cars and take a few snaps for Instagram. Lower Marsh (Waterloo), free, just turn up, 1pm

Sunday 16 December

Watch pantomime horses race around Greenwich

PANTO HORSE RACE: One of London’s wackiest annual events, watch 30 teams dress up like pantomime horses and race around Greenwich, around various obstacles. The theme this year is film and TV, so expect nags based on Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and more. Live music and other entertainment takes place throughout the day too. King William Walk (Greenwich), free to watch, just turn up, from 11am (race at 1pm)

BRIXTON WINDMILL: There’s a festive shindig at Brixton Windmill today, with Christmas crafts, carol singing, live music, face painting and more — we’ve heard a rumour that Santa might make an appearance. Brixton Windmill, free entry (£3 to visit Santa), just turn up, 2pm-5pm

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